School support roles

In addition to the teachers, there are many non teaching roles available for people interested in working in schools. These very important roles combine with teachers’ work to ensure all students are provided with the greatest possible opportunity to reach their full potential.

School support roles are involved in various aspects of running the school. Some work in the front office, some involve lawn mowing and grounds maintenance, some involve financial management and some roles are for people able to assist students with special needs.

Roles for staff other than teachers include

Aboriginal education officers (AEOs) work in schools where significant numbers of Aboriginal students are enrolled.

They work closely with teachers to develop culturally appropriate resources and programs.

They promote Aboriginal education, encourage students and support parents.

AEOs work with teachers to assist Aboriginal students achieve their potential and keep the Aboriginal community informed of students' progress and achievements, and of things like parent meetings, school activities, new programs and other changes.

AEOs provide role models for Aboriginal students and have a positive impact on helping them achieve their potential.

Permanent Aboriginal education officers may be eligible to apply for a transfer. If an AEO matches for a transfer to a vacant AEO position at another school, the principal of that school will form a selection panel (with four persons) and arrange an interview for the AEO who has matched for the vacant position. The purpose of the interview is to assess the transfer applicant's suitability for the position in relation to meeting the needs of the local Aboriginal community.

Some schools have business managers. Business managers support the efficient management of the school's business functions including administration, OH&S, asset management and finance.

Principals advertise the positions, initially through a career development opportunity process within the department to enhance career development opportunities for permanent staff within the department. If a position is not filled in this way, it is advertised on I work for NSW

Secondary and central schools that offer agriculture on their curriculum and have an established agricultural plot may be allocated a part time (two or three days per week) farm assistant position.

The farm assistant's role varies from school to school, depending on subjects offered and school resources. Several of our high schools and central schools offer courses in agriculture, primary industries and horticulture. Some of our high schools and central schools also offer extra-curricular activities such as livestock showing.

A farm assistant's duties may include:

  • preparing and maintaining the agricultural area
  • crop production and disposal
  • machinery operation
  • maintenance of machinery, tools and equipment
  • care of livestock
  • receipt and storage of supplies
  • general farm maintenance.

General assistants are employed in all our schools to maintain school playing fields, gardens and lawns and, receipting and distributing stores. General assistants support student learning by:

  • preparing and maintaining equipment
  • preparing materials and constructing teaching aids
  • undertaking minor maintenance of building, plant and equipment
  • receiving and distributing stores and goods delivered to the school.
  • maintaining and caring for school grounds.

School administrative managers (SAMs) are part of the school administrative and support team in all our schools. They assist the principal in planning and maintaining school routines and are responsible for the efficient management of the school financial and administration functions.

Their role also requires them to supervise school administrative officers and promote training opportunities.

Initially, when SAM vacancies are advertised only permanent SAS staff (full time and part time) are eligible to apply. If the position is not filled following this process it is re-advertised and made available to external applicants.

The school administrative officer (SAO) may be the first person to greet you when you arrive at a school. School administrative officers support the principal and the supervisor (SAM) to maintain school routines.

Their duties include assisting in the school library, science or home science areas, operating and maintaining classroom and office equipment and, undertaking an administrative role in the school office or reception area. After appropriate training, the school administrative officer can also volunteer to administer first aid or prescribed medications to students.

School learning support officers, under the supervision and direction of a teacher, assist in classroom activities, school routines, and the care and management of students with special needs.

Generally, their role includes assisting teachers in school and community centres to:

  • implement individual education programs (IEPs)
  • provide opportunities for students to develop personal, social, independent, living and pre-vocational skills
  • attend to the personal care needs of students, and
  • operate audio-visual aids, duplicating, issuing learning materials and clerical duties.

There are several types of school learning support officer roles; including general school learning support officers, school learning support officer (pre-school), school learning support officer (braille transcriber), school learning support officer (sign interpreter), and school learning support officer (ethnic).

Allocation of school administrative support staff to schools

Schools may employ the number of school administrative and support staff (SASS) they are entitled to, according to the staffing formula. There is a different formula for each type of school ie primary schools, secondary school and specific purpose schools

The Staff FTE and hours conversion calculator (XLSM 43.5KB) is used to calculate the hours of work for school administrative officers and school administrative managers.

Filling vacant positions

Vacant positions in schools are filled in accordance with the provisions of the relevant awards.

Initially, existing permanent employees with priority for transfer are considered for appointment to vacant positions. If the position is not needed for the placement of an employee with priority status, the appointment of an eligible long term temporary employee may be considered for some SASS categories. Should the position remain unfilled, employees with service transfer requests are then considered. Remaining positions are advertised and filled through the merit selection process.

Employment conditions

School administrative and support staff

Detailed statements of duties of school administrative and support staff and information regarding employment conditions such as working hours, pay and allowances, leave, and occupational health and safety, are detailed in the School Administrative and Support Staff Handbook (PDF 1900.4KB).

Most full time and part time permanent and temporary public servants, school administrative managers, school administrative officers, Aboriginal education officers, school learning support officers, general assistants, and farm assistants are eligible to salary package.

School support staff are employed under a range of awards .

Business managers in schools

Business manager positions are established under the Public Sector Employment and Management Act 2002. Conditions of employment are in accordance with the Crown Employees (Public Service Conditions of Employment) Award 2009.

Paraprofessionals in schools

Educational paraprofessionals are employed under the Teaching Service Act 1980. They are engaged in a temporary capacity and are paid during term time and non term time. They are expected to complete class preparation duties during non teaching weeks as planned with the classroom teacher.

Operational paraprofessionals are employed under the Education (School Administrative and Support Staff) Act 1987. They are engaged in a temporary capacity and are paid during term time and non term time. They are expected to complete preparation tasks during non-teaching weeks as planned with school staff.

Detailed information regarding the employment conditions of all paraprofessionals is available in Employment of Paraprofessionals in NSW Government Schools Guidelines (PDF 256.94KB).

More information on employment conditions

Finding the right job for you

Our schools welcome your application. Use our school locator to find a school which may suit you. You may wish to contact them directly to enquire about vacancies. You can also check for advertised vacancies on I work for NSW.

Find our advertised positions

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